Reports from first two transit forums

As most members know, the Ottawa Transit Riders have been hosting transit forums in various neighbourhoods to ask locals about their experiences, needs, and hopes for better transit. Here are the reports from our first two events: the forum in Kanata that was held in January and the forum in Orleans that was held in March.

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Survey on ParaTranspo

So … OC Tranpso ran a survey asking transit riders about their experience using the LRT and buses, but they forgot to ask people who ride ParaTranspo about their experience.

We think that’s a mistake.

The Ottawa Transit Riders wants to know what works and what needs to be improved. What do you want us to advocate for?

Please take the following survey and let us know what you think of ParaTranspo service.

Para Transit Rider Views


And if you want to get involved in fighting for more accessible transit, send us an email at [email protected]

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Joint statement on potential cuts to transit

The Ottawa Transit Riders joined other community groups, such as Horizon Ottawa, Ecology Ottawa, and Free Transit Ottawa to call on the city to clarify their plan to address the hole in the transit budget.

You can read the statement on the Horizon Ottawa website: Joint Statement by Community Groups on the OC Transpo Budget Crisis.

City council approved a budget that had a $39 million hole in it on the assumption that either the Provincial or Federal government would provide additional funds. Sadly, neither government provided funds in their recent budgets to address this shortfall.

We are deeply concerned that this gap will mean cuts to service this year.

Transit in this city is already struggling to meet demands and further cutbacks will only make the situation worse.

Please read the statement and contact your own councillor or a councillor on the Transit Commission to express your concerns. We argue that the city needs to re-think spending money on road-widening during a climate emergency, and re-direct those funds to transit, which is an essential service.

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Workshop on Ottawa's Transportation Master Plan on Saturday April 15

Are you a resident of Ottawa who wants to discuss what the city is planning for transportation?

The Ottawa Transit Riders will present at a WORKSHOP on Ottawa’s Transportation Master Plan on Saturday, April 15th.

 

This workshop is hosted by the Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES), the City for All Women Initiative (CAWI), Ecology Ottawa, and the Federation of Citizens' Associations of Ottawa (FCA) to discuss the City of Ottawa's Transportation Master Plan.

The City of Ottawa has released for public input Part 1 of its Transportation Master Plan Update reflecting the goals of the City’s recently approved Official Plan (OP). This plan is the roadmap for Ottawa’s walking, cycling, transit, and vehicular networks.

 

Part 1 is now available on the City’s Engage Ottawa website:

  • The update will be presented to the City’s Transportation Committee on April 17 (agenda here). This workshop is intended to inform the public and provide opportunities to discuss these proposed policies, and contribute to feedback on them to the City.
  • To become informed, please go to the Engage Ottawa website for the documents (Transportation Master Plan Update | Engage Ottawa)
  • The morning session will focus on the cross-cutting themes identified in the draft TMP (eg climate change, inclusivity & equity, transportation modes and land use)
  • A light lunch will be provided (courtesy of CAWI)
  • The afternoon session will deal with the focussed themes identified in the draft TMP (e.g., cycling, transit, pedestrian safety and road design, metrics to evaluate transportation projects)

The venue is served by bus routes 5 (Rideau-Billings Bridge) and 14 (Tunney's Pasture-Saint Laurent). There is bicycle parking in front of the venue.

 

Agenda:

9:00: Welcome

9:05: Panel on TMP Cross-cutting themes (climate change, equity and inclusion, land use), followed by Q&A

9:45: Discussion Groups

10:25: Break

10:35: Plenary: reports from Discussion Groups

11:30: Lunch

12:30: Welcome back

12:35: Panel on TMP Focussed Themes (cycling, transit, street design and safety, TMP project priorization metrics) followed by Q&A

1:25: Discussion Groups

2:05: Break

2:15: Plenary: reports from Discussion Groups

3:15: Next Steps and closing

 

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Recent Transit News

Transit has been in the news lately. Here is a list of recent articles:

An excellent summary of the trials and tribulations of our “beloved” LRT.

Ottawa’s Transit Gong Show | The Walrus

Serious concerns about the effects of the new mayor’s austerity budget:

Community groups take aim at what's missing as city council contemplates 2023 budget | Ottawa Citizen

Planned cuts to transit alarm Ottawa coalition warning of further erosion of public system - Capital Current

Tight budget could leave transit riders exposed to the elements | CBC News

 

A small bit of good news:

Ottawa green-lights purchase of 350 electric transit buses (electricautonomy.ca)

 

Remember that Ottawa Transit Riders and Free Transit Ottawa continue to advocate for FREE transit for people on ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) and OW (Ontario Works).

Sign the petition here:

Free Transit for OW and ODSP Recipients | Free Transit Ottawa

 

The Ottawa Transit Riders will be in Orleans on March 25th to talk with locals about their local routes and what can be done to improve neighbourhood transit.

Join us: Orléans Transit Forum / Forum sur les transports en commun à Orléans Tickets, Sat, 25 Mar 2023 at 1:00 PM | Eventbrite

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Orléans Transit Forum / Forum sur les transports en commun à Orléans

On March 25th, the Ottawa Transit Riders will host a forum for local residents to talk transit. Come join us. We want to hear about your frustrations – which buses are cancelled often, which ones are often over-crowded?

We want to hear solutions too. Would you re-instate express buses? Are there routes that need more capacity? Are there destination in Orleans that need more service?

Sign up here on Eventbrite so we know how many cookies to buy.  

Transit is an essential service – let’s make it a priority for this new council.

 

Le 25 mars, le groupe des usagers de transport en commun d'Ottawa organisera un forum pour les résidents locaux afin de parler de transport en commun. Venez vous joindre à nous. Nous voulons entendre vos frustrations – quels autobus sont souvent annulés, lesquels sont souvent surchargé? Nous voulons aussi entendre des solutions. Rétabliriez-vous les bus express ? Y a-t-il des lignes qui besoin de plus de capacite ? Y a-t-il une destination à Orléans qui nécessite plus de services ?

Inscrivez-vous ici pour que nous sachions combien de biscuits acheter.

Le transport en commun est un service essentiel - faisons-en une priorité pour ce nouveau conseil.

 

A poster advertising the Orleans Transit Forum. It is red, black, and white. On one side, there are speech bubbles that say "COME SHARE YOUR CONCERNS" and "VENEZ PARTAGER VOS PREOCCUPATIONS". There is a bus line drawing in the lower left of the poster (on a red background) and black silhouettes of a diverse range of people across the bottom, also on a red background. One is quite tall, one uses a wheelchair, one is scratching their head, the second last is gesturing, and the last one is heavier and is gesturing with one hand. On the upper right of the poster, there's a white text box with the address and time/date of the forum. Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex - Hall H. 1490 Youville Dr. Orleans. March 25, 1 to 4pm.

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What can residents do about the city budget?

The city of Ottawa released its draft 2023 budget that includes serious cuts to transit. What can residents do to influence the budget process?

On Monday, February 6th (7:00pm – 8:30pm EST), Horizon Ottawa will host an online training session on how to make your voice heard regarding the city budget.

Click Budget 101 for more details or to sign up.

On Thursday, February 9th (9:30 AM), the Transit Commission will hold its first meeting of the new council session. The proposed agenda is here.

To sign up as a delegate, email Eric Pelot, Committee Coordinator at [email protected] Indicate which agenda item you wish to speak to. 

Most city councillors will host “consultations” in their neighbourhoods over the next few weeks to discuss the budget. Some councillors in neighbouring wards will host joint-sessions. Please contact your own councillor to find out when their session will be held or check the list provided on the city of Ottawa website.

Such sessions can be an excellent way to meet your councillor, advocate for causes that matter to you, and network with like-minded neighbours.

The city of Ottawa has a list of upcoming ward consultations and further information on how to participate.

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Heads up about new policy on transit during winter storms

The Ottawa Transit Riders would like to encourage transit riders to review the NEW policy on transit during severe winter storms – when more than 31cm of snow is expected (or when heavy snow, ice, or freezing rain is predicted), OC Transpo will provide a modified service.

We’re introducing a Severe Storm Schedule this winter

Since this change has not been well communicated, we encourage all transit riders to check the OC Transpo website to understand how this policy will affect you.

Tell your neighbours, tell your colleagues …

  • On weekdays, bus service will be based on a Saturday schedule, with limited service early mornings and on weekday-only routes. Trips will be added to select routes servicing hospitals.
  • ParaTranspo customers should expect delays
  • Some articulated buses will be replaced with shorter 40-foot buses or double-deckers

OC Transpo recommends that transit riders sign up for “My Alerts” as information about reduced schedules and route changes will be communicated on this app.

 

**

Le groupe des usagers du transport en commun d’Ottawa aimeraient encourager les usagers du transport en commun à revoir la NOUVELLE politique sur le transport en commun pendant les tempêtes hivernales violentes – lorsque plus de 31 cm de neige sont attendus (ou un mélange de neige lourde et mouillée, de glace et de pluie verglaçante), OC Transpo fournira un service modifié.

Nous mettons en place un Horaire Tempête Sévère cet hiver | OC Transpo

Comme ce changement n'a pas été bien communiqué, nous encourageons tous les usagers du transport en commun à consulter le site Web d'OC Transpo pour comprendre comment cette politique vous affectera.

Parlez-en à vos voisins, à vos collègues...

  • En semaine, le service d'autobus sera basé sur l'horaire du samedi, avec un service limité tôt le matin et sur les circuits réservés aux jours de semaine. Des trajets seront ajoutés sur certains circuits desservant les hôpitaux.
  • Les clients de ParaTranspo doivent s'attendre à des retards
  • Certains autobus articulés seront remplacés par des autobus plus courts de 40 pieds ou des autobus à deux étages.

OC Transpo recommande aux usagers du transport en commun de s'inscrire à « Mes alertes », car les informations concernant les horaires réduits et les changements de trajets seront communiquées sur cette application.

 

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Community conversation about East-End LRT - Tuesday Jan 17th

The city of Ottawa is holding an update on how the East-End LRT expansion is coming along. The online meeting will be held today, Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at 7PM

Details can be found on the city of Ottawa website at: Upcoming work | City of Ottawa

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WFH could be a golden opportunity for better transit

Office workers working from home could provide OC Transpo with a golden opportunity to provide better transit service across the city without needing additional resources.

Historically, OC Tranpso has focused on serving suburban to downtown commuters, sometimes to the detriment of local bus routes.

Serving these regular Monday to Friday commuters puts enormous stress on a transit agency. They need to muster all their resources (bus and operators) for a short commuting window in the morning, then a mid-day downturn, and then a return to full service for the afternoon commute.

This causes challenges with hiring, with staffing, with labour relations, logistics, etc. As operators rise through the ranks, they resist being paid for x number of hours while needing to be available for longer.

In recent years, many office workers have worked full or part-time at home and they have reduced their commuting by transit. Many people are happier working from home and want to continue.

People still need transit. But people may be commuting to malls or employment centres outside the downtown core. People take transit to school, to medical appointments, to social events, and to visit friends and family. They need local routes.

The Ottawa Transit Riders will conduct transit forums in different neighbourhoods, starting on Saturday, January 21st in Kanata. We plan to ask locals what transit services they need. Come join us to discuss transit options. Transit forum in KANATA Jan 21st - Ottawa Transit Riders / Le groupe des usagers de transport en commun d'Ottawa

Change is not always scary – sometimes it can be exciting.

 

Remote Work Flipped the Commuting Script. Now Transit Must Adapt. (govtech.com)

How Mass Transit Can Adapt to Post-Pandemic Needs | Planetizen News

 

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